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European Commission - Press release

Libya: additional EU support for humanitarian mine clearance actions

Brussels, 11 November 2011 - In view of the increased need for the rapid clearance of unexploded ordnances and booby traps in battleground areas in Libya, the European Commission has announced that it is to provide additional funding of €500,000.

Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response stated: "One of the major threats to civilians remains the residues of war. Despite the cessation of the fighting, unexploded ammunition and mines are still claiming victims, especially children. This additional funding will assist the Libyan people to reduce the risk of fatalities and injury".

The new funding will be channelled through the Danish Refugee Council (Danish Demining Group) to clear mines, other unexploded devices and booby traps in Sirte and Bani Walid. It is expected that several Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams will be rapidly deployed to the affected areas in the coming days.

Background

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department will have provided almost €2 million in funding for humanitarian mine action in Libya once this new funding is deployed. It is currently supporting two operations in the field of humanitarian mine action through two six month projects, the first with the Fédération Suisse de Déminage (FSD) and Danish Church Aid, and the second with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Both projects are designed to identify and protect those areas contaminated by unexploded ammunitions which threaten civilians, as well as to dispose of explosive ordnance in hospitals, schools and populated areas. The ICRC's operation also includes a small arms and light weapons destruction component, as well as mine risk education for the conflict affected population. ICRC has also committed to providing education and mentoring support to the National Society in order to improve its weapon contamination programming, and to become the main provider for risk education in Libya. The area of intervention for both operations is countrywide and FSD Mine risk education activities also cover the Libyan refugee population in South Tunisia.

In addition, Save the Children UK has also included a mine risk and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)-education component in its ECHO-funded operation. Save the Children UK foresees the training of facilitators for child friendly spaces/after-school clubs to cover mine risk and explosive remnants of war education. As a result, the facilitators will provide training and awareness sessions to children in appropriately equipped, child-friendly spaces and after-school clubs.

For more information

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

The European Commission's humanitarian aid:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)


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